Officials say Usaamah Rahim waved a 13-inch knife as he moved toward officers in Boston
Rahim's family has not accepted the allegations of his terrorist involvement as truth
Massachusetts prosecutors will not charge the Boston police detective and FBI agent who shot and killed a suspected ISIS-affiliated extremist in June 2015.
Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley on Wednesday released a report spelling out the investigation into the death of Usaamah Rahim, who was fatally shot by law officers. Officials said he waved a 13-inch knife at officers in Boston.
“The overwhelming evidence gathered and analyzed during the course of the past year proved beyond any reasonable doubt that Mr. Rahim was armed with a large, military-style knife and posed the threat of death or serious injury to the task force officers at the time of the shooting. Their use of deadly force was a lawful exercise of self-defense or defense of others and did not constitute a crime under Massachusetts law,” Conley said.
The Joint Terrorism Task Force working in Boston had the 26-year-old security guard under 24-hour surveillance as a subject of a terror investigation involving suspected Islamist extremists, Conley said.
Conley touched on key findings of the investigation, such as task force intelligence that Rahim was originally plotting to behead Pamela Geller, a New York-based activist and conservative blogger, before redirecting his radicalized plans toward Boston police officers.
These plans were confirmed by a wiretapped-phone call Rahim had with a co-conspirator the morning of his death, officials said. “It was clear from this recorded conversation that Mr. Rahim did not expect to survive the attack,” Conley said.
Two of Rahim’s alleged co-conspirators are under federal indictment for the same underlying offenses, so evidence involving the two men was left out of the report, Conley said.
“The FBI deals with the decision every day between transparency and protecting an ongoing investigation,” ACLU staff attorney Carl Williams said.
The ACLU Massachusetts chapter, though not representing Rahim’s family, entered the conversation as a concerned party, challenging issues like Boston police de-escalation tactics and the district attorney’s impartiality in the investigation, Williams said.
“The narrative told by the police and the district attorney’s office leaves some pretty deep questions. Releasing that 10 seconds of the phone call, that would be really strong to me,” Williams said.
Conley highlighted other published report details depicting the scene, caught on CVS surveillance cameras, in which Rahim continued to advance on the officers, refused their orders to drop his weapon, and responded by saying, “You drop yours” and “Why don’t you shoot me?” Rahim got within several feet of the officers, Conley said.
The names of the involved officers will not be released to avoid putting them at risk, Conley said.
Conley met with local Islamic community leaders before the announcement, including representatives from the Muslim Justice League and various Boston mosque leaders. Conley said, “Mr. Rahim was being investigated for his actions, not for his faith.”
A statement released Wednesday after the press conference expressed the family’s continued questions on the legality of the initial arrest of Rahim.
“Usaamah’s death is not isolated. It is connected to a bloody history of law enforcement exercising discretion in a way that escalates, rather than de-escalates confrontations with citizens of color,” the statement reads.
“When things happen we sit around praying and say ‘I hope that person isn’t a Muslim,’ Usaamah’s mother, Rahimah Rahim, told CNN of her community’s fear of discriminatory labels.
Rahim’s family and their counsel have not accepted the allegations of Usaamah’s terrorist involvement as truth, according to their legal counsel, Ronald Sullivan.
Rahim’s family members, both Muslim and Christian, are coping with the shock of the allegations against a loved one they remember as innocent and peaceful, Rahimah said.
Rahim volunteered with senior citizens in Boston as recently as 2014 and showed no signs of radicalization, Rahimah said.
The registered nurse and mother of six, who converted to Islam, said she taught her children “to be kind and mindful of others, and he was just that type of person.”
“They did and did long investigation, and came up with 700 pages,” Rahimah said. “Now it doesn’t mean 699 pages are correct and accurate, and we’ll look through it all and go through it thoroughly because we still don’t agree that it was OK to murder Usaamah.”